Lake Macquarie teen Nic Benn set for international sevens stage

RAPID RISE: Nic Benn playing for Lake Macquarie earlier this year. He has been selected in the Australian under-18 boys' Sevens side.
RAPID RISE: Nic Benn playing for Lake Macquarie earlier this year. He has been selected in the Australian under-18 boys' Sevens side.

Lake Macquarie rugby union player Nic Benn hasn't had much to do with the seven-a-side version of the game up until this year, so it came as a real "shock" to the teenager when he was selected in Australian under-18 boys' Sevens recently.

Benn had only ever played in local one-off sevens tournaments before this year that, by his own admission, "didn't take that seriously".

A NSW Country representative in regular rugby who played Lake Macquarie's first-grade side this season, he took up an opportunity to dabble in sevens a few months back.

"I started playing sevens, training for sevens, a couple of months ago with Western Sydney Two Blues. They invited me and my mate down from Lake Macquarie. I've probably played six tournaments in the last two months with the Two Blues," he said.

The Two Blues, an open-age side, have played a range of one and two-day competitions, including the Darwin Sevens earlier this month.

Much like his experience with the Lake Macquarie first-grade side this season, Benn has enjoyed learning off the older and more experienced players.

"The young guys can learn lots from the older boys," he said. "They've obviously been playing for a long time and know everything about the game. I loved it.

"The tempo of the game is a lot quicker and I just enjoy being in a good environment and learning so much. It's very helpful."

Playing with the Two Blues also put Benn in the eye of Australian selectors. His performances during the various sevens tournaments made an impression, as he was included in the under-18 Australian squad.

"I'd sort of been in contact with Hugh over the last few weeks, Hugh Carpenter the coach of the organiser of it all," Benn said.

"And then he called me up and said: 'Congratulations on your recent form, you've got yourself selected in the Australian team'. It was shocking, but I was pretty happy."

Benn will attend a training camp with the side and then travel to New Zealand to play in the World School 7's on December 13-14.

Comments